Colombia is famous for the hundreds of bird species within its boundaries. You can spend two weeks or more on a dedicated birding trip just to get started. The High Noon Birdwatching Society takes a low key approach, looking at lovely flying creatures when it is most convenient. We have seen and heard some highly entertaining species. In Cartagena, we met the squirrel cuckoo. These are named after their sound, vaguely like that of a squirrel. We found two young individuals sitting in a tree by the sidewalk begging to be fed. The mother bird was in a tree overhead, declining to answer their frantic screeching. The young birds hopped and flopped upward among the tree branches trying to reach mama, though they didn’t succeed. I later read that squirrel cuckoos leave the nest before they can fly. That’s just how they looked—unwillingly out of the nest.
By our beach house, a pair of brown fronted parakeets ate seed pods from the neighbor’s tree. Near the house we also saw a white winged swallow, brown chested martin, and the biggest wren we’ve seen, the bicolored wren.
When we drove inland to the town of Tubara we found the town spread across the crest of a high hill and down into the adjacent valley. From one moment to the next you go from a coastal region to an inland one, covered with forest. In a clearing by the road we saw yellow oriole, red crowned woodpecker, boat billed flycatcher, smooth bill ani, tropical kingbird, blue black grassquit, ruddy dove and a gray bird sitting on a nest that we couldn’t identify. A very gangly savannah hawk stood on a stump staring at us by the side of the road. Other raptors we saw included yellow headed caracara, pearl kite and American kestrel. On the way home we saw a group of orange chinned parakeets.
At the Hotel Monasterio in Saint Agustin the guans were making so much racket that you couldn’t hear the roosters crow. Unfortunately, we never saw any guans though we heard them all around us. We also saw the scrub tanager, a blue and yellow tanager sort of bird, a rufous collared sparrow, and an Andean siskin.
Not bad for high noon.